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Originally posted by Dr. Davis on 2014-06-14
on the Wheat Belly Blog,
sourced from and currently found at: Infinite Health Blog.
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of WB Blog articles.
In an effort to expose how little most people claiming to adhere to a gluten-free diet actually know about gluten, late night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, posted this interview of everyday people claiming to be gluten-free. Clearly, among those not familiar with Wheat Belly, there is an astounding lack of understanding. This is unfortunate, because it allows people like Jimmy Kimmel–yeah, all meant in fun–to discredit what is proving to be one of the most powerful movements in nutrition in health to come along in thousands of years.
So let me pitch in and help out these poor ignorant pedestrians and answer the question:
What is gluten?
Gluten is a complex two-part protein found in wheat with virtually identical structures and amino acid sequences of the protein also found in rye and barley. Each gluten molecule comes in two parts: a larger, polymeric glutenin molecule that confers the stretchiness, or viscoelasticity, of wheat dough, and gliadin, a smaller protein. Both glutenin and gliadin share overlapping sequences also, but it’s the gliadin that is the source of most of the health issues associated with wheat, and thereby rye and barley. Note that the gliadin protein of wheat also resembles the zein protein of corn and, to a lesser degree, the avenin protein of oats, which therefore share some of the same effects, including activation of the immune system. (That’s right: While there is no gluten or gliadin in corn and oats, they have related proteins that have similar effects. Corn products in particular are not immunologically safe for people following a gluten-free lifestyle.)
Among the effects of the gliadin component within gluten on humans:
Glutenin is a less common cause of problems, but changes in amino acid sequence introduced by geneticists are increasingly being found to exert their own range of health problems, especially allergy. Also, recall that gluten is just one protein among thousands in wheat and other grains. Just because a protein is not gluten does not mean it does not pose its own health implications. Wheat germ agglutinin, for instance (mentioned above), is a direct bowel toxin and underlies gallbladder dysfunction, blocks pancreatic enzyme release, and contributes to changes in bowel flora and dysbiosis. Amylopectin A, not a protein but the carbohydrate of grains, is responsible for sky-high blood sugars, explaining why two slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of table sugar. There is more to wheat and grains than gluten.
Whether or not you understand what it is, gluten and the other components of wheat and related grasses exert a wide range of unhealthy effects on the humans who consume them. The seeds of grasses, AKA “grains,” are the food of the desperate when no real food is available. They are not the food to consume for nutrition and to maintain health.